nbspDuring A Chat With John Montgomery Yesterday He Tangentially Reveal

 During a chat with John Montgomery yesterday, he tangentially revealed a stunning number: according to Microsoft, there are more than 7 million “hobbyist programmers” in the US alone. Not professionals, not students, not “macro kings and queens,” not sysadmins with a knowledge of Perl, but flat-out hobbyists.

I still don’t know if I can believe that, not because the idea of recreational programming is odd, but because such a market is absolutely unserved. Geez, it makes me want to launch a magazine. (“Magazine” being another way of saying “Website that pays the bills”).

Algorithm complexity and modern CPU’s

Jan Gray wrote an excellent essay … My favorite quote from this piece is “This scenario is so bad and so common that the microprocessor vendors use 80% of their transistor budgets for on-chip caches — Intel as glorified SRAM vendor.”. via [iunknown.com]

This echos a favorite theme of mine: most discussions of performance ignore the differing costs of memory access. To the extent that people think about it, they split the world into RAM and disk, when it’s much more productive to think of a series of ziggurat-like steps that extend all the way from the CPU registers to the Internet and offline storage. (BTW, the essay is a year old, which makes some of the references, especially to C#’s closure support, a little odd).

Most important question of the week

http://blogs.gotdotnet.com/BradA/commentview.aspx/ddedfad0-c94f-4873-9c8c-4005cd8faaa5 Should the BCL contain both generics-based collection classes (List<T> ) AND object-containing classes? (my initial gut is that generics-only is the way to go. Better to accept some pain now than 5 years from now. )

Blogged on a Tablet PC

Conference Economics

Martin Spedding clarifies that he’s criticizing PNC on a strictly economic basis. This is perfectly valid: consider that the benefits of a conference accrue primarily to the individual while the cost is borne primarily by companies. And the value of a conference is delivered primarily by speakers and attendees, but the profit is enjoyed primarily by the conference organizer. Something is awry in the was that conferences work.

Blogged on a Tablet PC

Man Arrested Over ‘Spam Rage’

A Silicon Valley computer programmer has been arrested for threatening to torture, kill and send a ‘package full of Anthrax spores’ to employees of the company he blames for bombarding his computer with spam promising to enlarge his penis. via [Wired News]

Oughtn’t his defense be “But they opted-in to a ‘receive death threats’ list that was provided to me by one of my affiliates. I’m shocked, shocked at this turn of events and have cancelled future dealings with that affiliate.”?

Martin Spedding: “Was going to the PDC really worth it?” Interesting question….

Martin Spedding wonders “Was going to the PDC really worth it?” and Scoble sez “I’d say there’s a huge amount of value in actually being there” via [The Scobleizer Weblog]

Spedding essentially says that he goes to the PDC to “get an edge” and, now that conferences put up presentations online, he thinks that value is being diminished. Over the past 14 years, I’ve decided that presentations are the least valuable part of any conference. Honestly, Microsoft’s emphasis on text-heavy slides interspersed with demos and “you wanna’ see some code?” is much better marketing than pedagogy: “Wow, I’m getting substance! Oh, it’s real! Gosh, that looks easy! Umm…what’s code-beside again?”

Having said that, the PDC’s “Ask the Experts” sessions were fantastic. There were literally hundreds of Redmondians sitting around, eager to talk. And if the person you were talking to didn’t quite know, they’d raise their head and ask the right person “Hey, Jane, is it possible to do…?” You can’t duplicate that online.

To me, the ideal conference would be one where the presentations were made available to attendees the week prior to the conference and when the session is scheduled, attendees walked into a ZeroConf WiFi lillypad that provided a shared workspace with the tools available and the presenters first words were “So. How did the exercises go?”